Interior Design


Montessori Kids Rooms: Why & How

Following the Twins’ closet project, I’m getting ready to overhaul the rest of the room. They’ve made the move from their little nursery close to our room, to their big boy room upstairs next to their sister. But we’ve kept them in their cribs for now so they get used to the space. One change at a time seemed like a good idea. Despite being toddler giants, they will still be very little when they move to beds, and after my last dig into beds for shared rooms, I’ve started to worry about taking the beds too high. This, along with my recent interest in minimalism and creating calm through simplicity, has led me to look further at Montessori kids rooms.

montessori kids rooms why how fb


The Theory Behind Montessori Kids Rooms

The legend that is Maria Montessori was all about encouraging learning through independence. In talking of child education she said:

It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind)

The environment in which the child learns is key, because… well kids are small and clumsy; still learning the basics which we take for granted. So Montessori kids rooms need to be accessible for their inhabiter, in my case two toddlers still sussing out their gross and fine motor skills. The same principals that apply to a Montessori classroom can be applied to a Montessori bedroom:

Rooms are child sized with activities set up for success and allow freedom of movement and choice. The environment has to be safe for the child to explore freely. The environment has to be ready and beautiful for the children so it invites them to work. (

I’m not suggesting you fill your kids room with light boxes and toys, the activities should be appropriate to the use of the room. A classroom will have easily accessible education ‘toys’, for a bedroom we want the successful activity to be sleep! But, unlike the crib, which does not allow freedom of choice, beds should be accessible and furniture and decor should be at child height so that they can explore their space freely.

What This Looks Like

Putting these ideas into practice is the important bit, so lets take a look at the key elements of a Montessori kids room:

montessori kids room key elements


Floor bed:

The floor bed is probably the first thing people think of when planning Montessori kids rooms. Even babies, after a few weeks in a basinet or co-sleeping, can move to a mattress on the floor. This might seem crazy… what if they fall out? And they will. But they will roll, bounce and flop about like babies do, it’s all part of allowing them to become aware of their surroundings and their freedom to move. You may want to place a rug in the fall zone if you have hard wood floors for a softer landing, but be sure it’s heavy enough not to scrunch up and get caught around baby. 

The classic framed floor bed shown in the picture above is not necessary. The important part is that the bed is low enough for little ones to get in and out independently. The house frame idea came about afterwards, as a response to the floor bed; some believe the bed feels more like a ‘proper’ bed, rather than a mattress thrown on the floor, others feel the framing of the sleep space creates a sense of enclosure and safety. Either way, I love them… I’m just not sure we can pull off two houses in one room for the twins!

If you’re in the market for a framed floor bed, Etsy is full of adorable handmade designs. Here are a few of my faves (the photo’s are links if you want to know more):

 Accessible Clothes & Toys

The Montessori education encourages kids to dress themselves independently. We were caught out with this when Elsie joined the Montessori program in 1st Grade… oops, Mom had failed to teach her to tie her shoe laces, and Montessori kids learn this super early! Allowing kids to choose their own clothes is important in encouraging confidence in their own abilities, although it’s best to make choices easy, so keep the selection sensible. Choose child scale furniture and don’t overcrowd the room with toys and trinkets. Think deliberate and purposeful.

 Accessible Lighting

Some might struggle with this one, but Elsie always had access to her own nightlight from age two and the novelty of fiddling with it soon wore off. Giving kids the chance to control the lighting level in their room via switch extensions or a low level lamp again reinforces the idea of independence and safety in their own space.


Neutral Colors

This is where I struggle a little because I love color! The North American Montessori Center says:

“We create a space that both calms the soul and satisfies the innate desire for order.”

The general consensus is that keeping Montessori teaching spaces neutral in color reduces the chance for distraction and encourages a feeling of calm. I’m not going to disagree but I do like a little fun too so I’m torn… maybe just a little pop of color? I’m not the only one… check out this Montessori inspired room by Rachel Larraine:

MONTESSORI NURSERY eclectic-nursery


I hope you’re feeling prepared to set up your perfect Montessori kids room, I would love some pictures to share with our decor Facebook page… do send me your creations!




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DIY Custom Closet: IKEA Kallax Hack

Custom fitted closets get expensive… really expensive. I contacted a few companies for the all singing, all dancing fitted closet for the Twins’ room, and to be honest I’d rather spend that kind of money on a family vacation to Mexico. So, DIY custom closet it is. I’m putting my mom muscles into action, and taking on this project to create an attractive, practical and affordable solution. This IKEA Kallax hack has turned out great… the only trouble is I now want to do the same in my daughter’s room!


**This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.**

I’ve been talking about getting started on the Twins’ room for long enough, so I thought I’d better get on with it and break the seal. It’s a lot to take on at once, especially when you’re at home with three kids. So I’m breaking it down into manageable pieces, starting with their closet.

DIY Custom Closet: BEFORE

The existing closet and it’s sliding mirrored doors have likely been there since the house was built in 1987. We have these closets in three of the rooms in our house and it’s tempting to just leave them. But I find the sliding doors limit access to the full area of the closet, and the open shelving ends up a jumble of falling socks and crumpled t-shirts. I can not stand using the closet they currently have, and I’m pretty sure the one in their new room is even worse. 

DIY custom closet before mirrors
Before: Sliding mirrored doors with open shelving and hanging poles.

So… time to take action and rip it all out. It really is amazing how much material comes out when demolishing a fitted closet. I’ll be honest, I haven’t yet dealt with disposing of all the shelves and doors. What I didn’t consider, was the fitted system that was there ran down to the floor and the closet had been carpeted around it. This meant the carpet had to come out too, such a pain! I didn’t have any matching off-cuts of carpet to fit, but I did have a little leftover oak flooring from when we installed downstairs, so oak flooring it is. A blessing in disguise, as I think it looks fab, despite the extra work.

DIY custom closet during demolition
The flooring and base boards needing renewing after demolition.

Before I could get started on my IKEA Kallax hack, I had to:

  • Strip out what was there;
  • Fill holes, sand and decorate walls;
  • Install new flooring;
  • Install and decorate new base boards.

Shop EasyClosets Online

IKEA Kallax Hack

The IKEA Kallax system has been a best seller for years, and over time new nifty additions have been offered to make the system even more versatile. I knew I wanted some drawers for the Twins’ closet, and although the drawers offered for the system are small, they will be perfect for socks, underwear etc. I am very aware from their existing closet, it is difficult to keep clothes eye pleasingly, OCD tidy; so I wanted some cupboards/boxes to hide things, especially as I decided to leave the closet open. You can mix up your Kallax unit however you want, you may want to just keep it simple with some storage boxes. And if you live nowhere near IKEA, you can buy your Kallax unit on Amazon (although the middle man pushes the price up!). There are alternatives to IKEA… ClosetMaid and Better Homes & Garden also make cube storage units.

IKEA Kallax
ClosetMaid Cubeicals
Better Homes & Garden Cube Organizer

 You can just leave your Kallax unit on the floor, but I felt lifting it up on feet gave it a wardrobe feel, and a more ‘finished’ appearance. It also gave me a little more height for fixing my clothes rail to either side. The unit is quite heavy, so I do recommend heavy duty legs with a decent fixing plate to spread the weight. I used IKEA Capita brackets, which are designed for holding up kitchen shelves/worktops rather than furniture feet, but they worked out perfectly. Then, all that’s missing is a closet rod and brackets.


IKEA Capita Brackets
Oak Closet Rod
Closet Flange Set

Closet Mural

A little while ago I posted about murals for kids rooms that do not need a fine art degree… and this mural was simple, but time consuming. It requires a streak of the perfectionist and a bit of patience, but it does not require any special skills. You don’t need to paint a mural behind your DIY custom closet, but if you’re going to go custom… go all the way, right? My friend Jillian, from, recommended sealing the masking tape with the background paint, to get extra crispy lines on the mural. I tried with and without this extra step, and I can confirm it is 100% worth that little extra time. If you’re painting smooth walls, you’re probably OK, but with textured walls, that coat of paint fills the gaps beneath the tape, preventing edge bleeding. If you can’t quite face a complex pattern, how about a bold feature color as a backdrop to your closet?

So… to prevent babbling instructions on the mural and the IKEA Kallax hack, I made a video:


DIY Custom Closet: AFTER

I’m really pleased with how the closet turned out, and the symmetry is perfect for the twins, because as I have mentioned before, I like to keep their clothes separate. George and Arthur will get a side each, and there is plenty of space to spare if I want to pop a laundry basket or storage trunk on either side at floor level. 

This DIY custom closet cost me a total of $250 (not including repairs/flooring after demolition), which is a fraction of the cost a closet company would charge. And if you went with basic cube boxes, instead of drawers and cupboards, and kept the unit on the ground, you could pay as little as $150… feeling like a thrifty mama right now! 

 DIY custom closet AFTER

DIY custom closet portrait

I’d love to hear what you’ve done with an IKEA Kallax system… the possibilities are endless!



**This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.**

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Gender Neutral Kids Rooms: Unisex Themes and Color Schemes

Gender neutral kids rooms are not just for babies; as children grow up they may be sharing a room with their opposite sex sibling for a while. Maybe you’re trying to steer clear of the Disney Princess propoganda our little girls are swarmed by? Or maybe you’re preparing a spare room to cater to a mix of grandkids? Whatever your reasons, there are plenty of themes and colors to create the perfect gender neutral kids rooms.

gender neutral kids rooms-2-facebook

**This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.**

If you read my post on boys playing with girl toys you’ll know I’m not a fan of pigeon-holing kids into gender stereotypes. I’ve seen plenty of boys playing dress up in princess dresses at children’s play centers, and I’m always intrigued by the parents’ reaction. It varies hugely from pure horror, to laughing, to encouraging and interacting. My boys are particularly into wonder woman’s crown at the moment, very fetching indeed.

Before I divert too much, lets get back to those kids rooms. Bedrooms do not need to be gender specific, so if you’re trying to avoid a blue boys room next to their sister’s pink room, here are my ten favorite gender neutral kids rooms:

1 Zoo Animals

I think it’s safe to say the zoo is for everyone. Some animals seem to be completely genderless, such as a giraffe or a hippo; others seem to swing one way or the other. However, if your son wants a flamingo inspired bedroom, I’m sure he can pull it off.

Childrens Bedroom- Interior Design by Taylor Ford Design, San Francisco transitional-kids

2 Rainbow Colors

We decided to wait for the gender surprise with our first born, which means we wanted a neutral nursery. We went multi-colored… We had green and white walls, with blankets and cushions in a bold multi-colored striped knit. Yes… there was even bright pink in our color scheme – it’s a baby, not a football player being asked to go to school in a tutu.

Golden Beach Res. contemporary-kids

3 Travel

Who doesn’t love to travel? Earthy colors, woods, baskets, ropes, maps… give your kids room a true unisex vibe and inspire them to get their backpack on when they finish school!

Wagener Terrace transitional-kids


4 Science

Anyone that’s read this blog for a while will know that I am all about the science stuff. I love this geek chic room, very cool indeed.

Just for Kids! transitional-kids

5 Neutral Tones

Greys, whites, pale wood tones… you really can’t go wrong. It’s a little too safe for my liking, but very tasteful all the same.

между небом и землёй scandinavian-kids

6 Nautical

Don’t tell me boats are for boys, I’ve seen the LEGO® Friends Yacht and it is one swanky girls pad on water. I presume boats became a boy thing because water looks blue… ridiculous.

Nautical shared room beach-style-kids

7 Horses

You can take a horse theme in any direction you like… princesses and unicorns, my little pony, cowboys and ranch… or just somewhere in the middle!

Camping Themed Kids Bedroom Lifestyle scandinavian-kids

8 Lego

Last week I posted a photo on Twin Pickle’s sister Facebook page Family Decor Obsessed that was similar to the one below. When I asked “Who knows someone that’s mad about Lego?”, one follower replied “My girls!”. Yes, it’s OK for girls to play with the primary colored Lego, as well as the pink stuff created with Lego friends… You’ve got to have somewhere to park your yacht after all.

Kalkan Dublex Apartment/Suadiye contemporary-kids

9 Forest 

Similarly to zoos, some forest animals seems to sway towards one particular gender. However if cartoons are anything to go by, it’s all about whether the animal has eyelashes. You can just skip the animals altogether and go with more of a camping, woodland feel.

Whimsical Woodland Playroom by Mollie Openshaw contemporary-kids

10 Monochrome

If in doubt, go monochrome. That way, he/she/both can add little pops of color with accessories in their favorite shade. 

Sebastian's Big Boy Batcave contemporary-kids


My top Target picks for gender neutral kids rooms:
Seek Adventure Framed Art
Lion Head Wall Décor
Cactus Table Lamp
Blue/Teal/White Arrow Plaques
Super Dog
Never Grow Up Pillow
3 Sprouts Canvas Storage Bin
The Future Is Bright Framed Wall Art
Southwestern Tepee

So whether you’re creating the perfect spare room, or creating something brothers and sisters will both enjoy, I hope you enjoyed these gender neutral kids rooms. And if you want a few more ideas on your Facebook feed, go and like our Family Decor Obsessed page!


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*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.*


Toy Storage for Living Rooms: The Hidden Playroom

Remember that life you had before kids? When your home was an adult space, and didn’t resemble the toddler zone at a low budget theme park? Remember when you could invite friends over for drinks of an evening, and they could get inside the door without stepping over the ride on fire engine; and the dining room was actually for eating in, not finger painting and pasta collage? You need to get your home back… and get some stealth storage on the go. Sneaky, clever toy storage for living rooms, because not everyone has a dedicated playroom they can close the door on; and as a parent you deserve to have some downtime without a block of Duplo or a homemade American Girl outfit in sight.

toy storage for living rooms facebook

**This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.**


Last month I published a post called ‘How to Create the Ultimate Playroom‘. It has been by far my most viewed post, and still brings new readers to Twin Pickle everyday. It seems people want to know how to give their kids the perfect play space, whether their motive be to enhance their children’s educational growth, or just create somewhere so awesome that Mom and Dad get the break they need.  I love to dream of the big time, and take inspiration from those all-singing-all-dancing homes with a bottomless budget. There’s always a piece of it you can bring back to reality, and it helps get the creative juices flowing. But in the real world, few of us are lucky enough to have a apartment sized play space to install a jungle gym and a tire swing. So today, we’re going the other direction and thinking small and sneaky… what is the best toy storage for living rooms, so our home can return to an adult zone after bedtime? 

I live in a lovely family sized home in Arizona, but when my daughter was a toddler we lived in a Victorian terraced house in England. For those of you struggling to imagine what scale of house the working class built for themselves in the Victorian era, the bathroom was outside, the kitchen is usually a lean-to addition on the back, and furniture (and people) were a lot smaller than they are now. Despite loving old houses, I didn’t want to live in one of ‘those’ kid houses; I was an Architect in my late Twenties, and still in denial that I could do, and have it all. Some things have changed, but my policy on living in a toy box have not. Some people must love to live amongst toys… children’s TV presenters for example. Slightly obsessive toy collectors. Who knows who these people are, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere. If on the other hand you’re like me, a tidy home means a tidy mind, and I can’t think straight when the living room looks like Toy R Us after a monsoon.

5 Tips for Successful Toy Storage for Living Rooms:

1: Do not ‘add’ a toy box.

Do not keep a house full of your pre-kid furniture and add a personalized painted toy box in the corner of your living room. Little Johnny will be just as happy pulling his toys out of whatever vessel you offer, so unless it’s going in their bedroom, save yourself the evening eye sore and keep the exterior to your toy box adult friendly. Ditch your coffee table or end table and swap it for something with storage. Toy box by day, scattered with magazines and cocktails by night. Here are some of my favorite containers acting as toy storage for living rooms:

Storage Trunks

The light in this space is wonderful, but I’m featuring it for the lovely coffee table. Look how many toys you could fit in there, and in the evening no-one would have any idea they were there. Similarly, the blue dresser could be crammed with toys and art supplies for all we know! The great thing about trunks is they often come with nice rounded corners, perfect for wobbly toddlers.

My favorite picks for something similar:
Steamer Classic Storage Trunk
ZallZo Commander Aluminum Storage Trunk
Safavieh Navarro Storage Trunk
Clever Coffee Tables

There are loads of clever coffee tables about with slick openings and cubby holes perfect for toys. This contemporary living room in Colorado, remodelled by Studio2b, has plenty of hidden storage space for those pesky toys. The slide opening coffee table would be perfect for crafting or Barbie’s wardrobe

Photo by samantha_bales – Source:


My favorite picks for something similar:

ioHOMES Luxer Coffee Table
Dann Coffee Table
WYNDENHALL Elliot Coffee Table

Baskets are usually child friendly, light with soft corners, and come in an endless number of shapes and sizes. I’ve got living room envy over this beautiful home designed by Bungalow Design, and I can see loads of potential toy storage for living rooms:

Photo by Bungalow Design – Source:


My favorite picks for something similar:

Rush Storage Basket
Natural Wool Houndstooth Basket
Deco 79 Seagrass Basket

2: Purge toys as they grow and consider size when you buy.

We used a wooden storage box for a side table in our house in England, and I was pretty ruthless with the number and size of toys I bought. Anything that didn’t fit in the box went to the charity shop. Of course my rules were constantly blown to shreds when Grandma went shopping… hello pink ride on and pop-up tent; honestly, that tent was bigger than our dining table. It might seem mean to limit the number of toys your children have, but now we have a large playroom, the tidying (and arguing associated with tidying) has become a real burden. If you remember Elsie’s talent for what we’ve quoined ‘poopcrastination‘, she doesn’t like to tidy up, and the more toys that can potentially cover the floor, the bigger this problem becomes… leading to my next point below!

3: Keep things contained and easy to tidy up.

I know what it’s like… you’ve finally got the kids to bed, all you want to do is crack a beer and put your feet up… screw the tidying up. But being in a toy free zone for a couple of hours in the evening makes all the difference, so make life easier for yourself and check out a couple of nifty ways to keep toys contained and quick to put away…

Lay-n-Go Activity Mat & Toy Organizer

I am in love with this idea, I haven’t tried it myself as I’ve only just discovered it in researching for this post, but it does look pretty genius!

Lay-n-Go Activity Mat
Lay-n-Go Activity Mat
Lay-n-Go Activity Mat
Trundle Storage

Although designed to slide under beds or cribs, if you have the right sofa, a trundle could work well as toy storage for living rooms; perfect for train sets, lego, cars, jigsaw puzzles and pretty much any of those annoying kit-of-parts toys that take forever to pick up – the alphabet jigsaw is the worst. Carefully measure your sofa and see if it just might work!

Orwell Wooden Trundle
Delta Cot Trundle
Trundle Bed Storage Drawer
4: Find or create a nook for the big stuff.

Don’t leave the ride on, the multistory car ramp and the singing bubble mower out on display, find a place for everything and your home will be transformed. We had a nook about the size of this one under our stairs in England, and it was perfect to tuck a couple of those bigger items that family can’t resist to buy. And in case you’re wondering, this beautiful staircase is the work of Best & Company in New York.


5: Keep it behind closed doors.

If you have the space, build in some floor to ceiling cupboards and fill them with all your kiddo’s goodies. This fun set up at ‘Number 23’, by MATT Architecture in London, is the perfect way to give kids the color and ownership of space they crave, without allowing it to take over your house. I love that they have one each and all three are personalized. 


And one last thing to think about… dual purpose furniture:

For the perfect playroom/living room combo, think about flexibility and how you can combine functions. Not all kids toys/activity tables have to be ugly, what about a coffee table that doubles up as a ping pong table or a dolls house? Brilliant…

Huzi Design Table Tennis Set
QUBIS DESIGN Coffee Table And Doll's House

Just because you have kids and you don’t have a playroom, it doesn’t mean your house has to look like the set of the Teletubbies… so get thinking about toy storage for living rooms, be savvy, and find somewhere to tuck away those Legos!


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*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.*

Colorful Planting Ideas: Naptime Makeover

It been some time since my last Naptime Makeover, but it’s time to make the most of those sleeping babies. The Twins are down to one nap a day now, but it’s a good two hour event, so that leaves plenty of time to get stuck into some colorful planting ideas. It’s that time of year when everyone in the northern hemisphere starts exploring their garden again… unless you live in Arizona like me, and in that case you’re into pool terriority. Yes, it is officially 100°F today on Cinco de Mayo, so it’s time to splash about, party and lounge poolside. I had a good tidy up and weeding session earlier in the week, but our poolside seating is still lacking a punch of color. I needed a little inspiration before I headed to the garden centre…


Although I love gardening, since we moved from the UK to Arizona, the knowledge I had built through experience with my English garden felt like it was useless in my new desert habitat. I swapped rambling roses and gooseberry bushes for bougainvillea and cacti. I’m no planting expert, but it’s a hobby I really enjoy, and I’ve found some great resources through Monrovia that help make planning and buying the perfect plants for your garden easy. They even have a new ‘Grow Beautifully’ blog which I’ve had a good dig through to consider colorful planting ideas for my patio spruce up. There are many different ways you can bring splashes of color to your yard, so before you get started consider some options:

5 Colorful Planting Ideas:

Traditional Flower Beds: What I love about good sized flower beds is you can mix heights, colors and textures to create the ultimate planting backdrop. It’s quite the skill, I’m not sure I’ve nailed it yet, but it’s fun to browse for plants that compliment each other in the garden centre or online. I’m one of those people that get asked if they need help a lot in the garden centre, because I move pots about repeatedly, standing back with a confused look on my face. 

Trees: In a sea of green, a colorful tree can make all the difference. Our neighbor in England had a Japanese Red Maple, and I was always eyeing it up mid summer when spring flowers had finished for the year and we were left with only green planting.

Decorative Pots: What I like about pots is they are easy to weed. I find flower beds higher maintenance, although mulch or pebbles helps. I also love that they’re mobile to change up the look quickly. The pots I’m filling today used to be along the pool fence, but I’m moving them poolside. Not only can colorful flowers create an instant splash of color to the centre of a patio, the pot itself also brings color and style to your yard. Don’t be afraid of mixing pots for an welcoming, eclectic look like this beautiful garden below.

colorful planting ideas monrovia
Source: Monrovia Grow Beautifully Blog

Hanging Baskets: If you’ve read my post on hanging house plants you’ll know I’m a fan of keeping plants out of reach of children and pets… neither can be trusted! Hanging baskets are the perfect way to bring color to your patio, especially if you have a covered area as they can run along the edge of the canopy.

Vines & Climbers: What I love about climbers is they cover unsightly structures or divides. In England we had a huge scented climbing rose that covered a trellis that separated the pretty front half with the practical back half with the shed, greenhouse and veg patch. When we moved into our house in Arizona, we immediately installed a safety fence to divide the pool half from the lawn half, and now I plan to grow a climber to improve the unsightly steel bars. Useful and pretty, you can’t go wrong with that!

Colorful Planting Ideas: Naptime Makeover

We finally got round to buying ourselves patio furniture last summer and were so excited about sitting on it, we never really thought about dressing it up further. But the poolside patio is looking a little sad and beige, and it’s calling out for a splash of color. This truly was a naptime makeover… a small project you can tackle while babies sleep – instant satisfaction. Pots are an easy, almost lazy, way of bringing colorful planting ideas to your yard, I even had time for a cup of tea and take some photos before the boys woke up.


This is the sweet spot… although you need ice tea today. It’s 100F!!

I went for the lazy option and popped to my local Lowe’s in the morning to browse the Monrovia plants and flowers. If you’re more organized, and want to make sure you find the perfect plant for your pots or beds, you can search the Monrovia shop site for what is available in your region, and they will ship the plants for free to your local garden centre for pick up, such a great idea!


These Asiatic Lilies are bringing just the colorful detail I was looking for to the poolside, and they can handle a little sun so hopefully they’ll do just fine in my pot.


And you know I couldn’t leave without a cactus, right? Is it sensible to plant a cactus in a bathing suit zone?

Let me know if you have any spring/summer planting projects on the horizon, and do have a browse of what Monrovia have to offer at your local Lowe’s. They also have a lot to offer online, including their shop, blog, and even a newsletter. Get stuck into a naptime makeover, whatever it may be, you really feel like you’ve achieved something for the day!


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Mid Century Modern Design: Know It, Find It, Fake It, Make It

While browsing furniture recently, I was struck by how many mid century modern design pieces have been reborn into the mainstream, affordable furniture stores. It seems the craze of 1950’s style is showing no signs of dampening, and why should it… simple, clean and practical; yet delicate, considered and warm; it’s enough to make anyone fall in love with Grandma’s house. But what inspired mid century modern design in the first place? And what options do we have for bringing the style into our homes?

mid century modern deisgn fb

**This post contains affiliate links. This means I get a small commission if you purchase through some of the links. This does not affect the price of the item.**

The Birth of Mid Century Modern Design

So often when I’ve read about mid century modern design, it’s straight into the furniture. Filling your home with expensive antiques in not going to instantly create a mid century paradise. To understand the style we need to look at the furniture in context… what did mid century homes really look like? What are the key concepts to a mid century dream home? Although opinion varies, the term ‘mid century modern’ tends to refer to designs between the mid 1940’s up to 1960. Take a look at these architectural classics… it was about so much more than furniture: 


The Glass House, Philip Johnson (1949). Source:
Curutchet House, Le Corbusier (1953). Source:
Stahl House, Pierre Koenig (1960). Source:
Farnsworth House, Mies Van de Rohe (1951). Source:
Miller House, Eero Saarinen (1957). Source:
Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra (1947). Source:
  1. The Glass House, Phillip Johnson (1949) – Top left.
  2. Farnsworth House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1951) – Top right.
  3. Crutches House, Le Corbusier (1953) – Second row left.
  4. Miller House, Eero Saarinen (1959) – Second row right.
  5. Stahl House, by Pierre Koenig (1960) – Third row left
  6. Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra (1947) – Third row right.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when your look at these houses? For me, it’s not furniture… it’s light. These homes are all filled with light and have a fluid connection with the outside. These houses were all about the perfect setting, plenty of glass and an exceptional view. If you, like me, live in a house with a small yard overlooking the house behind you, an exceptional view may not be an option. But consider light, window treatments, and continuing your internal floor surfaces outside to make that connection. Indulge in large uninterrupted panes of glass,  sparsely populated open plan living – functionality over fuss. You’ll also see from these houses there was a color palette to the era – yellows, browns, orange, red and pink. Accents of blue and plenty of white.

Kitting Out a Mid Century Modern Home

When you’re ready to get hunting for furniture and accent pieces, there are a few options:

  • Hunt down an authentic mid century modern piece;
  • Buy a new but retro styled piece;
  • Upcycle an existing or cheaper piece of furniture to give it a mid century modern twist.

Although I would love to say you must only buy authentic furniture from the era, I also live in the real world. Antiques are expensive, and the mid century modern design craze has been running long enough that it’s rare to find a total gem before it’s snapped up by a savvy collector. So, let’s consider all options and not be a total design snob…

Identifying Classic Mid Century Modern Design

Mid-century modern furniture has a distinct look. Here are some of the classic styles and materials:

  • Thin legs that test the limits of engineering;
  • Low seating, ergonomic shapes, simple clean lines;
  • Teak, elm, beech and rosewood.
  • Molded plywood and fiberglass;
  • Sliding doors with minimalist hardware;
  • Leather, chrome and glass;

If you’re looking for the ultimate classics, some of them are still in production. These are new pieces of furniture, made to the original design and method, approved for distribution by the original designer. You will find many people offer cheaper alternatives with the same design, but they will likely be made with cheaper materials and craftsmanship. 

Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen (1957). Source:
Eames Lounge Chair, Charles and Ray Eames (1956). Source:
Credenza, Finn Juhl (1955). Source:
  • Left: Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen (1957). Approved distributor: Knoll.
  • Center: Eames Lounge Chair, Ray & Charles Eames (1956). Approved distributor: Herman Miller;
  • Right: Credenza, Finn Juhl (1955). Approved distributor: Design Within Reach.

Sadly, most mid century modern designs are out of production, and you are left scouring flea markets, antiques stores and the internet to find original pieces… Don’t forget grandma’s garage, you never know what you might find! Here are a few beauties to look out for:

Adrian Pearsall Model 893-TGO Coffee Table (1950s). Source:
Edward Wormley Open Back Sofa (1947). Source:
Hans Wegner Model 20 Hutch (1959). Source:
  • Left: Adrian Pearsall Model 893-TGO Coffee Table (1950s).
  • Center: Edward Wormley Open Back Sofa (1947).
  • Right: Hans Wegner Model 20 Hutch (1959).

New Alternatives in Mid Century Style

Pretty much all the big furniture distributors have jumped on the mid century band wagon in some way. Although frowned upon by die-hard collectors, these mainstream alternatives make the style more accessible to the masses. I personally would go for furniture which is inspired by mid-century, instead of what looks like a bad copy of an original classic. So spot those skinny legs on squared sideboards, the return of teak, and smooth clean lines. Here are some of my favorite budget pieces:


Slate Grey Xander Armchair, World Market
Porter Mid Century Modern TV Stand, Target
Morgan Dining Chair, Joy Bird
Walnut Brown Wood Ashlyn Bookshelf, World Market
Two-Tone Mid Century Modern Coffee Table, Target
Fairfax Sofa, All Modern
Chunky Woven Albin Upholstered Sectional Sofa, World Market
Embick Mid-Century Modern Dining Chair, Target
Alton Cherry Dresser, Living Spaces

The top row are all from World Market, and although they don’t have a great selection of mid century modern design in my local shop, online they have loads of great pieces (grab the 10% coupon code at the end of the post or sign up for World Market emails and get 15% off). The second row are all from Target, who would have thought?! Again, a huge selection online compared with the stores. The bottom row are from Joy Bird (who specialize specifically in mid century modern but are a little more pricey), All Modern and Living Spaces.

DIY Mid Century Modern Design 

I don’t like waste, and I do like DIY. Those of you in my team may have trouble throwing out that 90’s pine dresser that’s been tucked in the garage for the past 10 years. Or maybe you spend your weekends trawling garage sales? Trouble is, this furniture is rarely winning style awards, so get your design cap on and up-cycle. The great thing about up-cycling free or cheap furniture – if it goes wrong, you haven’t ruined an expensive piece, so the pressure is off… have some fun!

DIY ideas to transform your furniture to mid century modern design:
  • Add tapered legs;
  • Change the hardware;
  • Wrap in wood veneer;
  • Stain a darker color – teak is classic;
  • Reupholster with a retro style fabric.
Hairpin Legs, Amazon
Tapered Legs, Amazon
Brass Knob, Amazon
Hairpin Legs, Amazon
Tapered Legs, Amazon
Brass Knob, Amazon

I’m definitely feeling the mid century vibe… when I find the perfect project I’ll come back to show it off. I hope you’re feeling inspired to raid Grandma’s house for treasures, don’t overlook those pieces that need a little TLC!


**This post contains affiliate links. This means I get a small commission if you purchase through some of the links. This does not affect the price of the item.**

10% off at World Market with code SAVEBIG10


Cactus Inspired Color Scheme: Bedroom Makeover

As you can probably tell from the Twin Pickle logo, I’m a bit cactus mad. As a Brit living in Arizona, the obsession was inevitable. I’ve been meaning to makeover our bedroom for some time, so when I needed ideas, it was only natural a cactus inspired color scheme was the way to go. My Instagram feed has started to catch up with my spiky friends… but how do you turn your favorite plant into a color scheme? I could paint the room green and decorate the walls with protruding toothpicks, but as a designer I’m ready to think outside the box a little… get ready for a makeover!

cactus inspired color scheme title

If you’ve read my previous design posts on accent walls or colorful bathrooms, you’ll know I’m not afraid of a bit of bold color. Although I love our bright red nightstands, they were not working with the yellow feature wall we had painted when we moved in. When creating a new color scheme, it’s important to consider what you already have, or your shopping list is going to get very long. 
Immediately I’m struggling with cactus green and red nightstands, because I don’t want my bedroom to look like Christmas. So I start to think about the broader spectrum of colors associated with cacti. A quick “cactus colors” search on Google or Pinterest will show you some fabulous colors these native beasts can express. At that point I knew I had found my cactus magic, I just needed to find the perfect paint shade to put it into action.

cactus inspired color scheme mood board

Putting my cactus inspired color scheme into action:

I booked a free color consultation with Dunn-Edwards Paints; this was not my first visit to the store, so I knew it was the place to get the right advice on such a bold color scheme. Plus, the store has a giant cactus out the front so we were already a match made in heaven.

cactus color scheme dunn edwards

I took with me some pictures of my existing bedroom, a few cactus images, and my helpful assistant, 7 year old Elsie. Despite being told in advance she was there to take photos, she had a lot to say on the subject of color, and insisted my lovely color consultant show us some very unrelated shades of deep purple.

cactus color scheme purple

Once satisfied, we could continue with the cactus inspired color scheme. Luckily for me, my consultant didn’t gulp in horror at my ideas, and was happy to find and discuss a selection of color cards to home in on a scheme. After leaving with some samples to try at home I felt ready to let my imagination run wild.

A color scheme means more than just paint:

I had quite the range of colors in my mind, and felt a little disheartened leaving the green succulent tones behind. My color consultant made some suggestions on how to incorporate these color accents into the room: using pictures, bedding, cushions… or pretty much anything else you may have in your bedroom. We all want a cohesive color scheme, but that doesn’t mean when I paint the walls pink, everything else has to be pink too. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to pick up a scatter cushion in the store and think “that’s the exact shade of pink I have on my walls.” Step away from the cushion and go back to your color scheme.

Stop all the chit-chat and show us the results already:

Those of you who have been following Twin Pickle for a while will know my seven year old daughter Elsie is in charge of my YouTube account. Well step aside girlfriend… Mom is breaking the seal. Yes, my face and delightfully Downton Abbey accent, are debuting video social media in the name of Dunn-Edwards’ exceptional quality paints. Enjoy…

Joanna Gaines eat your heart out. You know when you hear yourself on your answerphone message and cringe… that’s what I’m feeling right now. Onwards…

The finishing touches:

I’m hoping you love my cactus inspired color scheme as much as I do. I did take a trip to the local nursery (plants not children) in the hope of getting myself a giant cactus for the bedroom. Not only did the chap insist we left the building to talk outside because he couldn’t understand my accent, he also looked at me in total horror when I asked how one of his beauties would do inside. “These are desert plants that need full-sun.” he said. So he totally bummed my idea; but I did get myself some smaller succulents which I will desperately try not to kill. Once the paint was dry and my micro-cacti were in place, my cactus inspired color scheme was coming to life. I had a feeling for the exotic; an adventurer heading across the desert to lands unknown. This idea sparked the wall baskets and the large multi colored cushion; small touches that really finished the scheme for me…

cactus inspired color scheme before

cactus inspired color scheme front

cactus inspired color scheme portrait sm

Get the ball rolling for free!

Find out more about booking a free Dunn-Edwards color consultation here. You can also download a coupon for a free 8oz sample of paint to get your makeover juices flowing!

A final word on Dunn-Edwards Paints:

While I was in line for my paint order pick-up, I scanned the room to assess the type of characters that might buy their paint from Dunn-Edwards. Not surprisingly, I was the only one stuffing my cans of paint under a twin stroller that particular afternoon. The store was a 50/50 mix of homeowners and professionals, which is a really good sign. Not only do homeowners want the quality and color range you get with Dunn-Edwards Paints, but Professionals understand it’s a selling point for their business to offer these products. I even heard one lady say to a couple of guys in overalls “I’ll take your card, you’re buying the best paint so that’s a good start.” And as for the environment, I will let Dunn-Edwards speak for themselves:

‘At Dunn-Edwards, our mission has always been to provide the best performing paint, in an environmentally sound manner to protect the health and well being of our customers. We were a disciplined leader in the concept of green product manufacturing long before it became popular.’

cactus inspired color scheme dunn-edwards paints
Chosen colors: DET452 Gypsum Rose & DE5178 Aloha Sunset

cactus inspired color scheme landscape side

So whether you’re looking for a cactus inspired color scheme, or any other wacky idea that comes to mind, book yourself a consultation and feel inspired. I would love your thoughts on the scheme, although I will take white lies over brutal honesty any-day… haha, not true, tell me what you really think!



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How to Create the Ultimate Playroom

If your little ones are lucky enough to have a play room (or a designated space for toys and activities) there are three key design factors you will want to take into account: toy storage, activity spaces, and last but by no means least… the fun factor. After all, if your kids don’t love being in their playroom, they will just bring their toys somewhere else, likely under your feet. Here is my essential guide to create the ultimate playroom…

how to create the ultimate playroom faebook title

There are many little things that come together to create the ultimate playroom. You may not be able to do all of them, but hopefully I can inspire you to give a few of them a go.

10 essential components to create the ultimate playroom:

*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.*

1. Fun Wall Decor:

Urban Romantic transitional-kids


I’m loving this multicolored wall! Its actually wallpaper, I was sure it was a mural until I started digging. I do love a mural though, and I put together a triangular mural for the twins, see my IKEA Kallax hack closet makeover with mural here.

Westport Modern Farmhouse transitional-kids


The polka dots above look a little more manageable if wallpapering or murals seem too much, and continuing them across the ceiling gives the room a ‘play den’ kind of feel. If you want to snoop more at this lovely Connecticut home, head over to Architectural Digest.

2. Comfy Seating

Traditional Kids traditional-kids


You can incorporate a sofa into your playroom but kids have the tendency to roll about, do headstands and all kinds of other weird maneuvers. I would recommend loading your playroom up with bean bags, giant floor cushions and any other building blocks for homemade forts… don’t forget the blankets too!

3. Storage Boxes

Storage box from Nobobobo (Etsy)
3 Sprouts storage boxes (Amazon)

I’m crazy for these cool storage boxes from Nobobobo on Etsy (shown left)… so fab, it was difficult to pick my favorite to feature. And nearly everyone with children has some kind of box storage unit like the one on the right. We have a larger one and use it as a half partition, and we also have the 3 Sprouts Storage Boxes and love them!

4. Art Wall

Stylish Urban Living transitional-kids


Kids adore having their artwork on display, and it’s a good idea to have an easy way to change up the display regularly. Either hang pictures from clips (kids can easily do this themselves if it’s at the right height) or try fixing open glassless frames, love this display featured at The Sawdust Diaries

5. Clever Storage

Stacks of endless boxes are not going to create the most dynamic space, despite being practical and organized. So how about you get creative with some bespoke storage for particular toys? If you’re swimming in Barbies, go check out this fun idea from Chatelaine, the Barbies are hanging out in a fabric shoe organizer… genius. And if you’re struggling with a place for those Matchbox cars, see what ‘Keeping up with the Souths‘ came up with using kitchen knife magnets!

And if you’re want to make tidying up easier… try these clever play mat bags, the 3 sprouts mat is super cute as all their stuff is; and the Ozzy Kids retractable mat just looks genius!

3 Sprouts play mat (Amazon)
Ozzy Kids play bag (Amazon)


6. In-House Gym

Brooklyn, NY: Cobble Hill Townhouse contemporary-kids


Now here’s where it gets serious, I did say we were aiming to create the ultimate playroom, didn’t I? When I was looking at beds in shared kids’ rooms, we touched on a couple of wacky ideas, but a climbing wall or a rope swing inside the house? Go on… I dare you! The jungle gym playroom above is the work of Carl Wooley, and the rope swings below are from Brooklyn based designers Chango & Co.

Westhampton Beach Playhouse contemporary-kids


7. Activity Table

Lego play table with storage (Etsy)
Melissa & Doug play table (Amazon)

Back to basics here… somewhere to sit or kneel, build, play and draw. Pinterest is full of ‘Ikea Hacks’ for lego tables, using various bargain bits of furniture. But if you can’t face the DIY, I love this ready made Lego table on Etsy. We have the Melissa & Doug Activity Table shown on the right because it was the biggest, cheapest table I could find. It works perfectly and is permanently covered in a sea of lego (the lip around the edge stops the lego falling off and the drawer is perfect for all the instruction manuals). 

8. Forts & Tents

Indoor forest cottage playroom with giant blackboard and rustic storage rustic-kids


To create the ultimate playroom you have to be able to hang out in a fort. You could go all out and build one like the awesomeness shown above, or give kids the space and utensils to build their own. We all built forts out of sofa cushions didn’t we? The other current trend is for little tents, they do look adorable and don’t take up too much space. I love this teepee tent from Target.

9. Dress Up Station

Modern Style contemporary-kids


Love this dress up display wall, my daughter is crazy for dressing up and would definitely approve of a wall of dresses! For some sweet DIY dressing up rail projects, head over to the Rogue Engineer or this sweet project from Lay Baby Lay.

10. Reading Nook

Mountains of Fun Playroom modern-kids


Whatever size your play space, you’ll likely have some books to store. Don’t put them in boxes, get them on the wall or displayed in an easy to reach bookcase. Kids love to help themselves to books, so give them a little coziness to enjoy a good read. 


Are you feeling ready to create the ultimate playroom? Of course if you’ve already done all of the above, you could always incorporate:

  • A slide;
  • A role play shop;
  • A train set that circulates the room;
  • A basketball court;
  • A jumbo jet;

I’m just saying… you can always go one step further 😉 

**EDIT: Twin Pickle has a sister Facebook Page called ‘Family Decor Obsessed‘… Like the page and get child friendly decor ideas and pretty decor pics in your Facebook feed!**


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*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from a store I link to. It does not affect the price of the item.*

Colorful Bathrooms: How to Go Bold Without Going Overboard

Dream bathrooms do not have to be white. There are plenty of beautiful, colorful bathrooms out there to inspire us to look beyond white, gray, and natural stone tones. You don’t have to go mad with it… I’m not suggested you go full retro and get yourself an avocado tub; but accents of color could be just what you’re looking for to bring warmth and bold style to your bathroom. Take a look at this washroom rainbow, and see what colors get you in the mood for a shower…

colorful bathrooms fb

Featured image source (blue bathroom):

Colored Grout

Photograph by Simon Bevan – Source:

Colored grout… it’s a thing now. Hexagon tiles and red grout? Even better. Colored grout will instantly style up your bathroom, and I particularly like how this tile only runs halfway up the wall and the color is continued in paint. The unfinished hexagonal edge makes it feel like a game of Tetris has crawled up the wall off the floor, I love it. You can get grout in all sorts of colors now, take a look at Stationmaster’s ‘Glamour Grout’.

Subway Tile

Hidden House, Ashburton, Devon

The popularity of subway tile means it is now available in any color you could think of. It’s a really simple way to bring a statement color into your bathroom and I’m a big fan of this bold orange. You can see more of this ‘Hidden House’ in Devon, UK, at Architects’ van Ellen + Sheryn’s website.


Mix Materials

Glass House

There is nothing particularly wacky about this bathroom; but the mix of materials gives it a wonderful glow of yellows and orange. It’s warm and inviting, despite the rather corporate glazing and blinds; and I enjoy the combination of painted wall, stone tile and wood floor. I also love the concrete frame adding to the mix. For more photos of this ‘Glass House’ in Chicago, visit Thomas Roszak Architecture.

Colored Cabinets


You may be tempted to paint your existing cabinets to reduce the cost of your bathroom renovation. When you do, consider a bigger palette than white. This yellow accent livens up this white bathroom perfectly.

Painted Wall


Pantone named ‘Greenery’ it’s color of the year for 2017. It that isn’t a reason to get painting, what is? Green gives the opportunity to bring some plants into your bathroom too, creating a mixed palette of coordinated shades. Green is also known to be a calming, relaxing color… perfect for a dip in the tub.

Patterned Tile


These moroccan inspired tiles bring color and pattern to a bathroom. Keeping the tile full height across the room creates a simple accent wall design, without being too fussy. Patterned tile might seem like a risky move, but teamed with simple white for the rest of the space, it can be easy to pull off.

Painted Bathtub


Who doesn’t love a free-standing claw foot tub? I miss ours since we moved from the UK, but am in the market for extending our bathroom to fit a bath, so who knows… You can paint the underside of your tub easily, in any shade, to bring a splash of color to your bathroom. I also love these hexagon mosaics on the floor!

While we’re in the realm of violet on my rainbow of colorful bathrooms…

PPG Paint couldn’t care less what Pantone say… they’ve come up with their own color of the year – ‘Violet Verbena‘. I’ve got to say, I rather like it, but sadly can’t find an image of bathroom that’s been painted in it yet. I’m leaving the swatch here in the hope one of you will feel inspired to paint your bathroom. Do send me a picture when you’re done…




Stephen Graver - Edington Bathroom Project
Photo by Stephen Graver Ltd – Source:
This gorgeous bathroom in Wiltshire, UK, by Stephen Graver is playing it safe with color. We’re not all ready to go tiling our walls in purple; so if you don’t have the balls for built-in color, bring some vibrance to your bathroom with towels, chairs and pictures. Remember, colorful bathrooms don’t need to be floor to ceiling color.

My rainbow is complete, I hope you enjoyed the colorful bathrooms. Do let me know which is your favorite!



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DIY Murals for Kids Rooms That Do Not Require a Fine Art Degree

Last week I started designing the Twins big boy room, and shared my options for beds in shared rooms. This week, I’m taking things a step further and thinking about the walls. I would love the boys to have a mural wall, and it’s something I’ve always fancied having a go at. Despite being fairly artistic, the idea of embarking on an epic mural is more than daunting, and I don’t want it to end up so awful that my hard work is painted over with ten layers of tasteful pale grey. So, let’s be realistic, and consider some DIY murals for kids rooms that all of us can achieve.

DIY murals for kids rooms facebook image
WARNING: The mural shown above may require a fine art degree… read on to start with something basic!

I can draw, but I’m pretty rusty and I don’t have much time. The last thing I want is to make life difficult for myself, after all, I’m a big believer in ‘keep it simple stupid.’ So… I’ve searched high and low, and this is the best selection of easy peasy murals I’ve come up with. And remember, you can always paint over it and start again!

Draw like a Child…

Leo's Room contemporary-kids


This cute mural is the work of designer Jane Reiseger, and although there is no doubt in her talent, I believe we could all have a go at this simple style. Pick a color and have a look through some of your favorite children’s books. Come up with a simple child-like drawing and go big! 


Nursery & Guest Room Re-Design contemporary-kids


A cityscape doesn’t need to be complicated. Use masking tape and straight lines to make a simple skyline. If you’re feeling really brave you can even add a few windows for that finishing touch! 


Modern Nursery transitional-nursery


This masterpiece is the work of Eclair Decor. I love the colors and really… how hard can it be? All you need is some masking tape and loose arm for those rolling hills. Create a makeshift compass with string to get that perfect sun circle!

Chalk Board

Eclectic Kids eclectic-kids


For the lazy parent everywhere… just let your kids create their own mural! 

Simple Trees

Violet's Nursery contemporary-nursery


Okay, so you may need some artistic skills for this, but keep the design super simple and the colors abstract. I love the grey accent leaves on the white branches!

Washing Line

PebbleKids_Cross Lines modern-kids


OK, this one looks is a little complicated, but notice the simplified shapes, it’s totally doable! Go on… have a go!


And when DIY murals for kids rooms don’t work out… cheat!


Wallpaperflower wallpaper DIY murals for kids rooms

This wallpaper is so pretty, and works perfectly in this room! Floral Coloray on Etsy have quite the selection for those wanting to wimp out on the mural skills. And with designs like this, I don’t blame you!


Stick on Decals

DIY murals for kids rooms decals teepee cactus
Available at KennoSatoDesigns on Etsy

If all else fails, there’s alway the total cop-out option of wall decals. There are loads of fantastic ones about now… I’m particularly crazy for these cactus and teepee stickers from Etsy.


So, I’m feeling inspired… yet slightly terrified to bring brush to wall. I quite like the idea of mountains because we are surrounded by them here in Phoenix. But if we go local, you know we have to include… a cactus or two! Here are my current thoughts…

desert mural twin pickle

I feel the Twins’ big boy room design brewing – what do you think?

**UPDATE!!!** I tackled a DIY mural in my twin boys room… check it out here!



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